#15. LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening
Many of LCD Soundsystem’s songs on This Is Happening are about moments. The moment you get lost in music, forgetting all your troubles (“Dance Yourself Clean”). The moment you make a connection (“One Touch”). In “All I Want,” James Murphy writes of another moment: “from now on, I’m someone different / ‘Cause it’s no fun to be predictably lame / From now on, there’s true indifference / ‘Cause I want what I want.” Like the lyrics, LCD Soundsystem’s music is also usually about moments. You ride through the amazing production of “Dance Yourself Clean,” as the instruments dance all around each other, waiting for that moment it breaks into a phat groove. Numerous moments slide in and out of the album, catchy harmony vocals, keyboard licks, beats, percussion.
It took me awhile to figure out what was happening with This Is Happening though. I had trouble placing it. Right now, maybe it’s overrated on the list. But next time I listen, it might be underrated. I’ve moved it all up and down and this is where it ended. I’m not sure why. It’s not as if James Murphy had any big change in style. In fact, if anything, he has expertly learned to trim the fat on his records, and now puts out strong, lean albums. Nothing is extraneous. His first album has some epic tracks but is at times a little goofy, a little hectic. He has an impressive ability to write music that is simultaneously locked-in tight and builds dramatically.
This Is Happening is his third album, and there’s less goofiness (though I’m not sure what to make of “Drunk Girls,” I could do without it). He’s also cut out the occasionally heavy electric guitar riffs that he used to use sometimes. What remains are the phat grooves building into dramatic release, and some notably emotional tunes (“I Can Change” and “Home”). If that’s what you like best in LCD Soundsystem’s music, you should dig This Is Happening.almostaghost